Have you been scammed?
This is probably a question that we want to answer with a sounding “NO!”. But not everyone is lucky to be able to dodge a scam.
In this article, I will show you the different kinds of scams, particularly those done online. Knowing and understanding each of them will equip you with a better judgment and will allow you to identify them once they knock on your door.
Recognizing their MOs will help you walk away from them the moment you spot the early signs!
Generally, the goal of this article is to save you from being scammed and how to protect yourself if ever you have found yourself already in the situation.
What Are Online Scams?
You’ll probably come across scammers anywhere you go. People who will find every opportunity to deceive you and take away your hard-earned money
Knowing these scammers exist should not cripple you or hinder you from doing any online transactions. It just needs more vigilance on your part. Later on, I will provide you guides on how to spot online frauds.
Online scams are probably the most common trickery in this generation, considering the increasing number of online users in the world. As of October of 2019, people who actively use the internet for a variety of purposes has reached 4.48 billion – that’s 58% of the world’s total population!
It is also quite easy to commit online scams or internet fraud. Compared to old school scams, where people approach you and engage you in a face-to-face conversation, which is a bit personal, some online scammers can get away with their misdeeds without risking their identity to be known.
Through the internet, scammers may trick you into giving them your confidential information through online registrations or by asking you to fill in forms that promise to reward you once completed. Little do you know that these informations will be used to hack into your bank or credit card accounts.
There are also get-rich-quick schemes that ask you to invest your money with a promise of high returns. And, who can resist a very attractive and well-laid program that suggests instant money, or business opportunities? The problem is that they may later on become adversities.
Like what I’ve said, the possibilities are endless! If you can think of a way to commit fraud on the internet, there is a chance that it is already in place!
Types Of Online And E-mail Scams
The first step to avoiding a potential scam is to be able to identify a scam.
Have you heard about the adage that identifying the problem makes the problem 50% solved? It is pretty much acceptable to scams, too.
So, let us start solving 50% of your problems right now: Below is some of the common online scams that are plaguing the cyber world.
One of the so-called fastest and easiest “get rich” investment programs. This involves low-risk investments that will reward you with high financial gains.
Sounds legit? It might be if the investment is pointed towards a legitimate business.
Named after the originator of the scheme who was infamous in the 1920’s, Charles Ponzi, this scheme doesn’t offer any business at all.
It lures investors to continuously invest their money into a non-existing business. The investors are given the impression of a profitable venture by receiving returns, which unknown to them, come from funds that new investors put into the scheme.
RECOVERY ROOM SCAMS
This sham proves that once is never enough!
What could be worse than being a victim twice?
The Recovery Room scam is a heartless type of scam that targets a recent scam victim.
The scammer calls the victim and poses as a< law enforcer offering help to recover the money, which was taken from a prior scam. The caller will appear to know a lot about the previous crime and sympathizes with them, establishing credibility and reliability.
During this situation, the victims oftentimes are too desperate to recover any amount taken from them or are too eager to have the perpetrators arrested. They are vulnerable and would accept any help that comes their way, especially when they establish that the person they are speaking with is one of authority such as the cops.
Scammers take advantage of this situation and offer help with a fee. Most often, victims are in too deep with their emotions that paying a few bucks in the hopes that the rest will be returned to them, won’t matter anymore. Thus, they fall to this kind of scam again.
SHOPPING AND AUCTIONS
Scammers wear different masks and portray a variety of roles in order to scam.
Online shopping may be the most convenient way to shop nowadays, but beware that this is also a breeding ground for most scammers.
They pose as sellers of products that are very cheap. An unsuspecting buyer will find this a good steal, and yes, you are right! Only, it is not you who are making a steal but the scammers, who may actually have been stealing your credit card and bank account details as you happily check out and pay for your seemingly good finds.
Some lets you pay a certain amount for products that are of no value or will not live up to your expectations.
Other times, the items will simply not arrive on your doorstep.
On online auctions, scammers have several ways to get themselves involved in the picture.
First, they will call a bidder and pretend that they are connected to the auction site. They tell you that the actual winner has pulled out and that they are selling the item to you instead. You will never hear from them again once they get your money.
Second, if you are a seller, scammers will place a minimum bid and at the same time, a very high bid to discourage other bidders. Seconds before the auction closes, the higher bidder will withdraw its bid, allowing the lower bid to win.
Third, if you are a buyer, scammers use dummy bidders to boost the bid price up.
Always protect your computer by using up-to-date anti-virus software. Using a firewall also helps. And, make sure that you are always using an updated version.
Without you knowing, scammers can install programs on your computer that can steal your data.
This can come in a form of an unsuspecting email that may contain advertisements. When you click on these links, a virus may be downloaded on your computer that will allow the hackers to access your computer.
This scam originated from Nigeria and also known as the Nigerian 419 Scam. 419 is the Nigerian Criminal Code that prohibits such an act.
Now, you simply can’t tell where the email is coming from as it is being concocted from all over the world.
Using any means of written communication, such as email, text message, and even your social media account, the scammer will send you a very convincing story about their fortune, which they could not access due to government conflicts, or any other believable reasons based on global current events.
However, they can transfer these funds to any account outside the country. They will offer you a large sum of money to allow them to send you the said funds. So, you willingly give them your private information.
This allows them to steal your funds.
In some cases, they will ask you to pay for fees or any other charges to facilitate the transfer of the funds to your account. Once you give in to this, there may be other fees that will be required later on. But, even after you have complied to all the instructions and paid all the fees, the sure thing is that you will never receive even a dime in your account.
You may have received an email or a text message from a reputable company or a seemingly trustworthy sender who is asking you to update your personal information.
These correspondences may contain websites or URLs of establishments that look legitimate – because they want you to believe that they are.
Apparently, these URLs will direct you to the scammer’s webpage where any information that you provide, can be obtained and used to steal from you.
Pharming is a combination of the words “phishing” and “farming”. It uses the basic manner of phishing, where you will be redirected to a scammer’s website in an attempt to obtain your personal information.
But instead of sending you a specific URL, pharming can take place even when you are only browsing through a legitimate website which you have keyed in yourself.
Pharming is a type of cyber-attack that alters a computer server to redirect a website’s traffic to a fake site.
INVESTMENT SCAMS AND PENSION SCAMS
Investment scams get investors to put money on an investment that is questionable or may not exist at all.
This type of scam usually involves a skilled con artist who will convince you to investing your money in a so-called business that promises you high returns.
The basic principles of every investment scam involve high-profit guarantees and low-risk assurances.
Pension scam specifically targets people who have retirement funds. Scammers are really good on sniffing potential victims and for them, elders who have saved up during their lifetime for financial security for when they retire would be an easy target. Scammers go through this ugly method just to accomplish their goals.
Note that these scammers are really convincing. They give you promises of higher interest rates and unlocking your pension plans earlier that what has been arranged.
CREDIT CARD OR BANK LOAN SCAMS
Using your credit card in purchasing items or paying your bills offers you convenience. However, this can also be a source of identity theft among online scammers.
Scammers don’t have to physically obtain your credit card in order to use your account. They simply need to get your personal information and credit card details.
Before you know it, you have already maxed out your credit limit because someone other than yourself has been enjoying a shopping spree on your behalf, leaving you with a considerable amount of credit card debts.
In other instances, they can even make cash advances using your credit card account. This can be done by cloning your credit card.
In bank loan scams, you will be offered a bank loan with a very low-interest rate for a hefty loanable amount. They even tell you that the money is already accessible anytime at your convenience.
The catch is that, in order for the money to be released to you, you have to pay taxes, insurance, and initial prepayments, which you need to deposit to a certain bank account. Others are even tricked into buying gift cards that will be redeemed by the scammers.
Once you have accomplished these requirements, you will find out that your contact person has vanished into thin air. So does the money you sent them.
LOTTERY FEE SCAM
How cool is it to receive news that you have won the lottery? You would feel so lucky and ecstatic at the same time.
But then, how many lotteries or sweepstakes have you joined recently?
This is how this scam works!
You will be contacted through email, text message, or even on your social media, informing you that you have won an amazing prize from an international lottery that you have never heard of.
Strike of luck, isn’t it?
Not until you are told that in order to claim such prize, you have to pay for insurance, taxes, transfer fees, and courier charges for some.
You will be pressured into responding quickly. Otherwise, your prize will be forfeited.
You will also be told to keep the matter confidentially to maintain the security of your identity and winnings. Just in case, a scammer is on the lookout to stealing your prize money. Really? Ironic!
Sometimes, you will be asked to provide your personal information as proof of your identity and bank account to where the prize will be deposited to. Once you do this, boom! The next thing you know is that your identity has been used and your bank account will be swiped clean.
There are times where the scammers make an effort to send you an actual check of a part of your winnings. However, these checks tend to bounce.
ONLINE DATING SCAM
Being a victim of investment scams because of one’s naivete is already hurtful (with a note of shameful… no judgment here) as it is. What more involving romance or your emotions in it?
But, scammers are the best when it comes to exploiting your weaknesses in order to gain money, so don’t take it personally, my friend. It’s just business to them.
This type of scam often takes place on online dating sites. Also known as “catfishing”, the scammer creates fake profiles, usually of a perfect person designed to ensnare their potential victims.
Over a short period of time, these scammers will get the victim to trust them and the victims will find themselves emotionally involved with these fictional characters. This is the moment that the scammer will ask pretty much everything from small favours to extracting money from their victims.
Some would even ask for the victim’s personal details and use it to steal from them or defraud someone else.
WORK-AT-HOME JOB SCAMS
In 2018, there have been 4.3 million people working at home in the USA alone. This shows that more and more people prefer to work in the comfort of their own homes rather than commuting to offices on a daily basis.
This opportunity is never lost on scammers.
While the goal in finding a work-at-home job is to earn a living and to render your services in exchange for a wage, you will notice that work-at-home job scammers will require you to purchase a software or an app from them before you can apparently work for them.
Some will require you to provide them your credit card information, which is unnecessary in job applications.
Other forms of WAH job frauds include not being paid after a job has been done.
This is a type of phishing scam wherein you will receive a call with an automated message telling you that your credit card has been cancelled.
If you are one that uses credit cards in most of your shopping transaction, you might freak out. This is what the scammers are expecting you to feel. They want to instil panic so you would not have the time to verify this matter with your credit card company yourself.
The automated message will ask you to press a number on your phone that will direct you into speaking with an actual person who will ask you to provide your information for “verification” purposes.
This is a sophisticated type of cybercrime which targets businesses that carry out wire transfer payments on a regular basis.
CEO fraud, also called Business Email Compromise (BEC), works by hacking or impersonating legitimate business email accounts, especially that of high-ranking business executives’, and send emails to authorized employees to release funds to a certain account or divulge sensitive information.
These emails’ content usually involves an urgent situation that needs to be acted upon immediately and with full confidentiality. This is to make sure that the recipient will no longer have the time to verify this with the management.
So, how do scammers do this?
One way is by name spoofing. They will create a totally different email, but the name of your CEO will appear identical to how his name is displayed on your screen when the official email is in use. Sometimes, they will use a domain name similar to yours with the exception of a letter, which will be negligible if you are not keen on these minute details.
Another way is that the scammer uses the exact same email address but it uses a different reply-to address so that the scammer gets the information that they need about the company.
An affinity fraud is similar to a Ponzi scheme, only that it targets a specific group of people or members of a certain group.
The scammer may be a member of the group or pretends to be a member who the group trusts. Oftentimes, the scammer recruits the leader first to establish trust and create the impression of credibility. Who can better convince the other members to invest in this fraudulent activity than the leaders, right?
Members who joined the scheme earlier in the game get to receive revenues, which is a part of the investment that new recruited members put into the so-called investment scheme – a classic case of the pyramiding scheme.
When there are no members left to recruit, the influx of investment begins to dry up, and will eventually result to the collapse of the investment scheme.
The closed groups are preferred targets of scammers because of its tight-knit qualities. A fraudster can easily get away with it because the victims choose to rather not involve the authorities and try to fix the problem within the group.
SERVICE PROVIDER SCAM
You will receive an automated voice call particularly from your internet provider informing you that your internet has been compromised and that their technical staff will assist you should you want to have it fixed immediately.
The use of an automated voice makes it look like it’s as legit as it can get. It is what usually convinces the victim that the call may be legitimate after all. It is also a way to filter the calls and identify those who have actually believed that the call came from their service provider.
On the customer’s part, not wanting any inconvenience if it is indeed true, you will consent to this and the call will be directed to someone posing as your service provider engineer. They are real people this time around.
The engineer will ask you to provide details of your account to supposedly confirm your ownership of the said account. You will then provide all these information unsuspectingly.
Sadly, this is what the scam is all about. It is a kind of phishing scam that extracts valuable information from the unknowing victims to be used to steal more from them.
SCAM COMPENSATION SCAM
Just like the recovery room scam, this type of scam targets those that have been a scam victim once.
It promises you of being compensated for being defrauded.
Scam victims are usually vulnerable and would be just glad to hear that they can recover their losses by this so-called compensation.
Unfortunately, this is just another scam waiting to fall upon them.
The scammers will tell the victim that there are fees, taxes, and other charges that they need to settle first through wire transfer before the said compensation can be released.
This type of scam involves defrauding an insurance process. It can be committed by both the seller and the buyer in different circumstances.
On the part of the seller or the issuer, scam takes place when they sell policies from companies that do not exist or they pretend to be connected to one.
It can also be that they collect payments from customers but they do not remit these premiums to the company.
Some scammer agents also alter policies to increase their commissions.
Buyers scam insurance companies by overstating their claims and creating false situations that allow them to make claims.
Health scams refer to health products that claim to cure and treat specific illnesses, or improve certain health conditions, but turn out to be ineffective or do not deliver results at all.
This kind of fraud may be dangerous to people who really need critical treatment, which may be delayed due to the time wasted on trying these bogus products.
Some of these products may have side effects or counter-indications to people who are also on medication, thus causing serious or fatal injuries.
Grandparents are the sweetest people. With their kind and loving demeanour, they tend to become a vulnerable target among scammers.
This scam specifically targets grandparents or elder parents who will do everything they could to save a loved one in distress.
The victim receives a call who they will believe as their grandchild or child. Take note that the caller will never identify himself in this situation and will just say, “It’s me”. Usually, it’s the victim who supplies information during the call, which they will then use to make their story more believable.
The caller will appear to be in some kind of trouble. The background is usually noisy to make it difficult for the victim to make out the voice of their loved ones. The noise also creates panic to the beloved elder pushing away logic and critical thinking.
The caller will then ask the victim to send them money on an account that they will provide so that they can get away from the trouble that they are in. They will ask to keep everything between them because they are too ashamed of whatever trouble they have put themselves into.
But, of course, this is to make sure that grandpa or grandma won’t have the chance to corroborate this with other relatives that may cause the scam to be blown.
Everyone must have committed tax fraud one way or another. Well, this is just an assumption and I don’t mean to accuse anyone but this misdemeanour, even if it only involved a couple of dollars, causes a person strain. Especially when you hear from someone who claims that they are from the IRS!
It may be an email, phone call, a text message, or a postal mail. They will all appear legitimate, especially the correspondences because they bear the agency’s logo.
The notice will be threatening. Scammers take advantage of the victim’s initial fear of the IRS to coax them into providing sensitive information. Some go to the extent of settling an amount, which they think will cost them less than if charged with tax fraud.
What they do not know is that not only their tax violations stay, but they have also lost their money to scammers.
Scammers will call you pretending to be your computer’s technical support. They will inform you that your computer has been infected with a virus and that needs to be fixed immediately. However, fixing the problem comes with a fee.
While on the phone, the scammer will ask you information that will allow them to access your computer remotely. According to them, this is required in order for them to conduct a diagnostic test.
Of course, they will always find something that is wrong with your computer. You, too, may notice that something is off with your computer. This is because the scammer has already hacked into your computer with the information that you provided them earlier. Now, you have no choice but to agree to the fee just so that the problem, which actually doesn’t exist, be fixed the soonest.
Like any other scams, they will make this matter appear to be time-sensitive. You will be asked to wire the payment immediately to avoid further damage on your computer.
Scammers pretending to be government agents will call you and instil fear on you and threaten you to an arrest or a lawsuit for a debt, which you may or may not actually have.
Some will ask you to settle taxes so you can be able to receive your supposed government-regulated lottery winnings.
Others may promise to help you make claiming government benefits easier for a certain processing fee.
Regardless of how these scammers approach you, the only thing certain is that they are out there to extort money from you.
SOCIAL MEDIA SCAMS
Social media is like a well of information for scammers. In 2018, 2.65 billion people have been reported to actively using social media, and the numbers are still increasing.
Social media users tend to make their accounts an extension of their private life totally disregarding that everything they put into their accounts may be viewed publicly.
And the scammers are happy about this!
Social media makes it easy for scammers to gather potential victims. It also becomes a perfect venue for identity thefts to choose for their new identities.
JOB OFFER SCAMS
Similar to work-at-home job scams, job offer scams are scammers’ way of taking advantage of people who are seeking for a legitimate job.
These scammers advertise job vacancies on legitimate job-seeking platforms posing as an HR representative of an existing or made up company.
Some even go as far as interviewing target applicants for the position.
Most of the time, these job opportunities do not require experience but will offer very generous compensation to lure unsuspecting victims.
Then the scammer will require you to purchase items from their accredited vendor. These items are supposedly required for you to start your job. You may even be asked to send the money directly to them so they can purchase it on your behalf.
Ever booked and paid for a travel package months ahead, only to find out on the day of your travel that the arrangements you made do not exist at all?
You have just been scammed.
Scammers take advantage of the increasing number of travellers who are frequently on the lookout for cheap trip packages.
Since these travel bookings always require pre-payments, it is an easy way for scammers to immediately collect a paycheck.
In other cases, you will be contacted by a scammer informing you that you have won a free travel package. Turns out that these “free” trips may not be free at all since you have to purchase part of the package to actually avail of the “free” item.
For example, you will be given a free spa package to a certain luxury resort, but you have to purchase a room in the resort for a night. Oftentimes, the cost of what you have to pay may be higher than what is being offered to you for free.
The scammers will just make the free item look amazing in order to convince you that you MUST take it!
BITCOIN AND CRYPTOCURRENCY SCAMS
While cryptocurrency trading is legal and is highly acceptable among digital monetary traders, it is also susceptible to scams.
Scammers trick cryptocurrency investors by creating fake websites and mobile apps. These sites may look similar to other reputable trading sites, but if you scrutinize its URL address, you will find unnoticeable discrepancies on the website’s address.
Landing on fake sites may lead you to put your investment money into non-existing cryptocurrency trading deals.
Cryptocurrencies are also a favourite of Ponzi and pyramiding schemers, where you are enticed to invest your cryptocurrency on high-return investments until such time that the business is no longer sustainable and eventually dries down together with your cryptocurrency investments.
Scammers often create fake websites to draw money, or even just to phish personal information from you.
Fake websites are usually used in order to carry out other types of scams.
AMAZON PHISHING SCAMS
When you have an account on Amazon, it is normal to receive notifications emails from them about the status of your order or some technical notifications.
But, when you receive an email from Amazon asking you to provide personal information about yourself, including sensitive information like your social security number, bank account number, credit card information and identification questions like your mother’s maiden name – some goes to the length of even asking your password – chances are you are being scammed by Amazon phishing scammers!
This normally occurs when you have made recent transactions with Amazon, making you believe that what you received is an official Amazon email confirming your order.
But, you don’t need to have a recent transaction to receive emails like this.
Sometimes, the email will just ask you to update your payment options but will redirect you to a non-Amazon site. And when you do update your info, the scammers will get hold of these informations and use them to scam you.
STOCK MARKET SCAMS
There are several types of stock market frauds out there. Some are more sophisticated than the others and targets those that have been stock market players for a while.
Most investment scams are carried out by your trusted stock brokers. It doesn’t hurt to examine your brokerage statement from time to time. Always be on a lookout for unexplained fees, unauthorized trades, or financial irregularities.
You will never know when your broker puts their financial interests over yours.
Ways To Recognize And Avoid Online Scams
Okay, now you know how these scams work. But, what if a really good opportunity comes your way?
You don’t want your fear of being scammed just let a good opportunity walk away from you, right?
You can completely avoid being scammed without totally being paranoid about being exposed online. All you have to do is to know what to watch out for.
You know that feeling when you sense something is wrong? Sometimes, you have to trust your instincts. It might just be telling you that something may actually be wrong.
But if your instinct failed you on several occasions, I have a list that you can turn to on how to spot a scam.
All these scams have warning signs and those are what I will be sharing with you.
Let me help you spot the red flags!
1. Too Good Of A Deal
If a deal is too good to be true, then they are really too good to be true! Don’t justify them!
Oftentimes, people tend to ignore the red flags because they are too focused on what they can gain in the opportunity presented to them.
Be it on shopping, investment, or a job opportunity.
If the price of an item being sold to you is twice as low as its original price, there is a chance that you will be getting a fake item. Don’t expect much unless you are willing to actually buy a knock-off, then that isn’t considered a scam.
When you are being presented with an investment opportunity that says you will get rich quick with just a minimal investment, stop right there. There is no such thing!
Or, when you are offered with a job with a salary that is higher than the industry standard but does not provide any specific job description, don’t feel that you have bagged your dream job just yet. You might end up disappointed and worse, penniless.
2. Never Give Personal Info To Cold Callers
When you receive calls from your service provider, or your bank, or your insurer, or anyone who introduces themselves as representative of a reputable company, ask them to repeat the company’s name and give them the impression that you are going to look into them.
Ask for their number and tell them that you will ring them back. Then take time to verify that with the company using their published contact number – never the one that the caller gave you.
Most establishments will never call you to ask for your personal info.
3. Say No To Bank Transfer Payment Arrangements
Scammers’ preferred mode of payment is through a wire or bank transfer because unlike credit or debit cards, a bank transfer is not covered by money bank guarantees.
Once you made the transfer, you can no longer get it back.
While credit or debit cards can still give you some protection against bogus transactions.
4. Mind The Links – Know Your URLs
If you see a link that says you will be redirected to a legitimate shopping website, say for example http://www.amazon.com/. Make sure that it will actually bring you to the website that you intend to go.
If you hover your pointer on the link above, check the lower left bar in your screen because it will display there the actual link where you will be heading to.
Scammers use hyperlinks to trick you into believing that you are going to a site when in fact you are being redirected to a bogus site where you are about to provide your personal info and become a victim of phishing.
The same goes for the URL you type. URL stands for Universal Resource Locator. In simpler terms, it’s the web address of a site you intend to go.
When you are on a web page – especially one that you didn’t type yourself because probably you just click a link – don’t forget to double-check the address on the browser’s address bar.
Sometimes, the page you are in may appear to be identical to the page that you frequently go to because scammers can copy the appearance of the page to trick you into thinking that your information is safe and secured.
But, if you look closely on the URL in the address bar, you may find a very slight, sometimes unnoticeable difference like adding a number along with the address or simply turning “o” into zero.
5. Use Your Social Media Responsibly And Wisely
Not every winks and sneeze should be displayed on social media.
Keep in mind that whatever you put in your social media page may and can be used against you.
Scammers have all the patience and time to stake out their potential victim. Social media is the easiest and cheapest way for them to make a profile of their next victim.
If you can’t help not limiting your social media posts, at least filter what you put on it. Try not to divulge too much information. Otherwise, you are only inviting scammers to free access not only on your life but also your assets.
6. Be Persistent And Ask A Lot Of Questions
If the call is legit, the person on the other end will not mind a tenacious customer. They are trained for that.
However, this trait is off-putting for scammers. They will not want to give you an upper hand on the conversation.
Scammers always want to catch their victims off-guard. This way they can gather as many information as they can once they get their victims to speak up. They confuse their victims by flooding them with strings of questions that will not give them time to think.
They will not be ready for a persistent victim who would rather ask the questions.
Annoy them! You are given the right to.
7. Strengthen Your Password
Your password is meant to keep your accounts locked up, safe, and secured from outside forces.
So, if you made your password so that you can easily remember it, think again. Because chances are, you are giving hackers a walk in the park!
It’s okay to make your passwords as complicated as they can be. It is even suggested to make combinations of letters, numbers, with a splash of special characters, if you may.
Maximize the characters to make it harder for hackers to figure out possible combinations.
8. Do Not Make Purchases On An Unsecured Site
First, how would you know if a site is secured?
If you examine the URL in the address bar, you will see that there is HTTP or HTTPS indicated before your world wide web address.
Those characters are not just random letter placed there to make the website address look longer or fancier! They are there for a reason and that “S”, makes a lot of difference when it comes to the security of any transactions you make in that website.
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In layman’s terms, it is the communication between the browser and the website you are visiting. These communications are displayed in plain data.
So, imagine if this exchange has been intercepted in between data transfer, all the information you put into it will be seen by the interceptor, this includes your credit card information and passwords. Scary, right?
How to make your information safe? One letter makes a big difference!
Make sure that you only provide information on an HTTPS site. The S stands for “secure”. This involves a transfer protocol that is encrypted. Meaning, even when an attacker intercepts the communication, it will be hard for them to crack the data exchanges. Thus, making your information concealed.
9. Urgent Deals
Scammers usually trick you into immediately buying an item because of the limited-time offering.
No matter how hard it is to let go of something that you think is a very good deal, take a step back because scammers will take advantage when they sense that you are very interested in the product or service they offer. They will start confusing you and tell you that the offer is based on an urgent timeline. Then, they will rush you to make advance payments so you can secure the slot or reserve the product.
Try to sound uninterested. As hard as it may, learn the skill!
If the scammers sense that you are not interested in what they are offering, they would rather find someone else to spend their time scamming.
10. Protect Yourself
Do not make yourself vulnerable to these scams. Always be alert and make smart decisions.
What To Do If You Have Been Scammed
If you find yourself already in a situation, what should you do?
Do not feel helpless! There are a lot of things that you can do to remedy the situation and stop it from happening to you again or any of your loved ones.
Here are some guidelines…
Immediately Put Online Payments To A Halt
Call your credit card company to report the incident and check if there have been recent unusual and malicious transactions in your account.
When done immediately, your credit card company will put your account on hold and disallow any transactions.
They can also put your account on a lookout for potential identity theft.
Block All Contacts With Scammer
Scammers are very skilled in what they do. They can still play tricks on you and get you to believe them even if you are starting to become suspicious of their intent.
Cutting all your communications with them is the best way to stop them from doing you more harm.
Know The Agencies In Your Country Where You Can Ask For Help
Different countries have government agencies and non-profit organizations that were created to help people seek justice from these fraudulent acts.
In the United States, for example, you can go to a consumer protection office in the state that has jurisdiction over the case.
In some cases, federal agencies may use your complaint to instigate an investigation on the company.
You may also send your complaints to Better Business Bureau (BBB) and they will publish and get in touch with the company to resolve the issue.
File A Report
Most victims choose not to report that they have been scammed for different reasons. One may be because they feel humiliated that they have been scammed. Another may be because they do not know who to trust anymore. There are a variety of reasons.
But to stop a scammer, there must be a public knowledge about these fraudulent activities. Otherwise, they will just continue with what they are doing and even increase the numbers of their victims.
Filing a report is one step to stop scammers from victimizing more people.
There is nothing to be ashamed about being scammed. Keep in mind that it is the scammers who should be ashamed of what they are doing!
Share Your Experiences With Your Family And Friends
Again, let others know that these crimes really happen, that they exist in different forms. They are real.
Keeping this experience a secret will do more harm than help to your family and friends. Sharing it to them means you are keeping them away from being future victims by making them prepared to fight the scammers off.
Touch Base With Other Victims
If you feel awkward seeking support from your family and friends who you think will not understand what you went through, other victims who have fallen for these scammers may help you get through the emotional strain.
Secure Your Computer
Scan your computer and seek a reputable company to install anti-malware software on your computer.
If you’ve been a victim of email phishing, chances are the scammer had installed malware in your computer. Have your computer cleaned and protected immediately.
Get Your Money Back
Sure, it may be a long process. Some victims even lose hope in recovering the money they have lost to scammers after some time. But it is not impossible!
It may be a tedious process but you owe it to yourself.
Get Back On Your Feet
Consider what had happened, a lesson in school. Learn something from it and correct the things you think you fell short on.
I’m not saying that you should consider every opportunity presented to you as a sham to take your money. What if it’s not?
You just have to be warier.
Keep in mind that you are the victim. You are not the one who committed fraud. Don’t get crippled by the thought of being judged. Anyone can be a victim of these crimes – even the most cautious and highly educated people.
What you need is to stand up for it. Report it. Get help and support if you need to. And tell yourself that once is enough. Never fall for these scams again!